Sunday, February 12, 2017

Plastic Bottle Plant Collars

This idea came off of the plastic bottle idea. The plastic bottles have worked out great and are now a routine method used in my gardens. The bottles effectively block cutworms, but once removed from the seedlings, the cutworms still damage some of the baby plants. Often they (the cutworms) can't cut through the stems but manage to girdle them, thus ruining the seedling after all.  

Ok...the bottles need to come off early so that the seedling can grow. But protection from cutworms is still needed. What to do that would be easy, cheap, and reusable? Why not plastic bottle plant collars. 

I tried cutting down several different types of bottles. I found that the Gatorade type bottles worked best. Made into collars, they were still strong enough to hold their shape while being pushed down into the soil around a seedling. I made the collars about 3 1/2" to 4" in height. 

Funny thing......the Gatorade type bottles aren't smooth walled. Thus they were difficult to use as bottle hotcaps. The soil tended to stick to the inside of these bottles, making it a challenge to remove them. So while they're not desirable for bottle hotcaps, they make far better collars than the smooth walled plastic bottles. The smooth walled ones aren't strong enough as collars, as they tend to bend or collapse while trying to push them down into the soil. 

Other benefits from the plastic plant collars....
1- the collar holds the young leaves up off the ground
2- the collar helps stabilize floppy seedlings until they can harden up
3- it makes watering the seedling very easy, getting the water right to the seedling root zone
4- slugs seem to be somewhat deterred by the collars too
5- most type plants continue to grow into maturity with the collars in place. No need to remove them. 

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